What Attracts Cockroaches in Your Home?

Things in your household that attract German and American cockroaches

In the United States, there are 2 household species of cockroaches that are usually considered to be the most common: the American cockroach and the German cockroach.

In this article (and video), pest expert Kevin Carrillo from MMPC explains what attracts cockroaches in your home and how to stop them.

American Cockroaches

American cockroaches are large, dark, and reddish-brown in color. They have strong wings that allow them to fly for short distances. There are variants of this species in the South that are actually very aggressive flyers. In New York and California, if you see a large, dark, brown cockroach, it’s most likely an American cockroach.

What Attracts Them

What attracts American cockroaches is decaying, organic matter (i.e. garbage) as well as moisture. If you’re seeing a large number of American cockroaches, it may be an indication of a plumbing issue. For example:

  • There may be a crack in the sewage line under your house or in your building’s basement.
  • There may be an opening around the wall that leads out to where these plumbing lines are, which is how the cockroaches are getting in.

American cockroaches won’t generally nest in your living spaces, because they need a relatively high temperature and an even higher humidity level in order to thrive. Most of us don’t keep our homes as humid as they like. Instead, where you usually find them is wherever your boiler is kept.

American cockroaches love nesting in boiler rooms. Your boiler line is basically the heart of the building, and your radiator lines, water lines, showers, and sinks all radiate out from the boiler. Cockroaches travel around buildings following these pipes and water lines, which is why they seem to pop up in your home around radiators, under sinks, and in bathrooms.

How to Get Rid of Them

The best thing to do in this scenario is to identify all of the areas where pipes are entering your home. Make sure that they’re fully sealed around (e.g. with a foam sealant).

After that, you should also consider contacting a pest control professional to take a look at the boiler room in order to address your cockroach problem at its source.

German Cockroaches

German cockroaches are relatively small in size and known for being really good at hitchhiking their way into peoples’ homes. They tend to find rides in packages, shipments, and boxes — often without you even realizing it.

Many large warehouses — such as Amazon warehouses or food warehouses — are so massive that it’s hard to keep track of these tiny pests, which can easily get into boxes and then come into your home. We’ve even heard of people finding German cockroaches inside cases of soda from the grocery store.

German cockroaches are proficient breeders. With just a little bit of food and water, they can create a huge population very quickly. A single female German cockroach can produce around 50 baby cockroaches within a timespan of a week or two. Each of these new cockroaches can breed with one another, allowing their numbers to grow exponentially and reach a very large population after just a couple of months.

What Attracts Them

With German cockroaches, what attracts them is food debris. When dealing with these scavengers, the number one thing to do is remove their access to food. Go through your pantries and cupboards to make sure that there’s no food or crumbs out in the open and keep everything bone dry — no water.

These cockroaches also like to search for harborage (places to live and nest) in very narrow crevices that are only slightly wider than their bodies — ideally around 4 millimeters, or the thickness of two credit cards. Here are some examples of places where you can find these 4mm gaps where German cockroaches like to nest:

  • In your kitchen under the countertop
  • Between countertops and drawers
  • In the backs of your cabinets behind the shelving

How to Get Rid of Them

If you’re not too skeeved out by them, you can take out all of the things inside your kitchen cabinetry and get rid of any German cockroaches you find with a vacuum. By aggressively vacuuming and going through your cabinets one by one, you can usually take out around 90% of the German cockroach population.

Watch Video: How Do You Attract Cockroaches?

Kevin Carrillo is a pest control specialist and a senior project manager at MMPC, as well as a contributor to wikiHow.

Based in Long Island City, MMPC provides reliable and eco-friendly pest solutions for clients of all sizes in and around the Tri-State Area. With over 25 years of experience, MMPC is one of NYC’s highest-rated pest control companies.

If you need help with cockroaches or other pests, call (212) 219-8218 or click the button below to contact us today!

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